This August, we will have been married for 25 years. Twenty five years ago when we decided to get married it was not up for discussion where the ceremony would take place, it had to be in the Roman Catholic Church. Deborah is a cradle Roman Catholic and I was baptized Anglican but had never really practiced my faith, so wasn't really an issue for me. We have to admit though that after we got married, practicing our faith fell by the wayside for both of us. We got caught up in our new married life and work. A few years later we were blessed with our first child, a son, and our first instinct was to have him baptized and brought into the Church. Children have a way of bringing you back to God, especially when they have medical issues, you turn to God for strength and guidance. We have been blessed with three wonderful and amazing children, we have tried to raise them according to God's word, bringing them to Church, teaching them how to be better Christians, praying for them daily that they will always walk closely with God, protected and blessed by Him. Thankfully, because of our encouraging them to be active members of the Church, they have willingly served on the altar and the girls are now happily singing in the choir. Granted in the early years, I always thought my role was to be the provider for the family and Deborah was to be the nurturer and teacher. I was accepting that Deborah was responsible for everything house and I was responsible for everything work. But children need both parents to guide them. I have to admit, in my desire to be a better role model for them I have done my own soul searching. I came to church to show support for my family, to enforce the need for God in my children's life but never truly considered how He played a part in my own. The girls, after they had received the sacrament of First Communion, always used to ask me why am I not following them to partake of the Eucharist, and I used to just brush it aside thinking I didn't need to, I was only at church to support them.
So Dad had to step up to the plate if he wanted to really be the true leader of the family. Happy to say I joined R.C.I.A. last year and in learning about the Catholic faith I am beginning to understand the desire of my family for me to be a part of their faith, to truly belong to the Church. Deborah is not a confirmed Catholic so we are taking the RCIA journey together and that has brought us closer together and allowed us to focus on God's word and will, especially in every day life and our marriage. It has given us a deeper understanding as to our commitment to each other. God works in His own time, I don't think I would have been as receptive 10 years ago. I am now willing to work through my faith to find the answers to my questions. Don't imagine that our marriage is perfect, we have our ups and downs, good days and bad, our disagreements and agreements, our marriage is a work in progress. Lots of work and just like our faith, you need to be committed to it, but with God present in it and learning now that He really should be at the center, you have the love and joy to weather anything, you find the strength to work through problems, patience to listen and learn from your spouse, mercy and forgiveness to survive any situation, and tolerance to accept the person you have promised to love, honor and respect till death do us part. I regret not starting this spiritual journey earlier in my life, as I believe that my family would have benefited much more in knowing God better, but better later than never and I am working hard to learn all that I can and be an example for them to follow and be good practicing Christians. I have developed a wish to read the Bible with my family, for us to discuss and understand God's word better. I am learning that attending Church alone is not enough and that my family needs to get involved more in our community and all the other stuff that Father speaks to us about every week.
So as my family continues this journey I look forward to any advice from other families and likewise we are available to share ours with any looking for support. God is love and I love the family he has given to me and I know with Him at the center, my family will always know love and overcome any obstacle placed by Satan and pass any test of faith. May God bless all of you and thanks for your patience in listening to me.